the-toll-of-the-sea

Personal Best Actress winners for years ending in 2.

Because I have to wait till my mom gets out of the shower to watch Mad Men.

2012: Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
2002: Julianne Moore, Far from Heaven 
1992: Emma Thompson, Howards End
1982: Meryl Streep, Sophie’s Choice
1972: Liza Minnelli, Cabaret
1962: Bette Davis, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
1952: Edith Evans, The Importance of Being Earnest
1942: Carole Lombard, To Be or Not to Be
1932: Helen Hayes, The Sin of Madelon Claudet
1922: Anna May Wong, The Toll of the Sea

La la la lists for no reason.

Anna May Wong/Huáng Liǔshuāng/黃柳霜: Why she kicks ass

  • She was the first Chinese American movie star, and the first Asian American actress to gain international recognition. Her long and varied career spanned both silent and sound film, television, stage, and radio.
  • At the age of 17 she played her first leading role, in the early Metro two-strip Technicolor movie The Toll of the Sea. Written by Frances Marion, the story was based loosely on Madama Butterfly. The New York Times commented, “Miss Wong stirs in the spectator all the sympathy her part calls for, and she never repels one by an excess of theatrical ‘feeling’. She has a difficult role, a role that is botched nine times out of ten, but hers is the tenth performance. Completely unconscious of the camera, with a fine sense of proportion and remarkable pantomimic accuracy … She should be seen again and often on the screen.”
  • During the silent film era, she acted in The Toll of the Sea (1922), one of the first movies made in color and Douglas Fairbanks' The Thief of Bagdad (1924). Wong became a fashion icon, and by 1924 had achieved international stardom
  • However, due to anti-miscegenation laws, she was often passed over for the leading female role, which prevented her from sharing an on-screen kiss with any person of another race.There was only one leading Asian man in U.S. films in the silent era, so unless Asian leading men could be found, she could not be a leading lady.
  • In the late 1930s, she starred in several B movies for Paramount Pictures, portraying Chinese Americans in a positive light. These smaller-budgeted films could be bolder than the higher-profile releases, and she used this to her advantage to portray successful, professional, Chinese-American characters.
  • She paid less attention to her film career during World War II, when she devoted her time and money to helping the Chinese cause against Japan.
  • She returned to the public eye in the 1950s in several television appearances as well as her own series in 1951, The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong, the first U.S. television show starring an Asian-American series lead.
  • She often used her celebrity to make political statements: late in 1931, for example, she wrote a harsh criticism of the Mukden Incidentand Japan’s subsequent invasion of Manchuria. She also became more outspoken in her advocacy for Chinese American causes and for better film roles. In a 1933 interview for Film Weekly entitled “I Protest”, Wong criticized the negative stereotyping in Daughter of the Dragon, saying, “Why is it that the screen Chinese is always the villain? And so crude a villain – murderous, treacherous, a snake in the grass! We are not like that. How could we be, with a civilization that is so many times older than the West?”
  • In 1934, the Mayfair Mannequin Society of New York voted her “The World’s best-dressed woman”, and in 1938 Look magazine named her “The World’s most beautiful Chinese girl”.
  •  In a stopover in Tokyo on the way to Shanghai, local reporters, ever curious about her romantic life, asked if she had marriage plans, to which Wong replied, “No, I am wedded to my art.” The following day, however, Japanese newspapers reported that Wong was married to a wealthy Cantonese man named Art.
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Technicolor Process 1 (Additive System) - The Gulf Between (1917): A prism beam-splitter behind the camera lens exposed two consecutive frames of a single strip of black-and-white negative film simultaneously, one behind a red filter, the other behind a green filter.

Process 2 (Subtractive System) - Toll of the Sea (1922), The Phantom of the Opera (1925), The Black Pirate (1926): The frames exposed behind the green filter were printed on one strip of black-and-white film, and the frames exposed behind the red filter were printed on another strip. After development, each strip was toned to a color complementary to that of the filter—red for the green-filtered images, green for the red-filtered.

Process 3 - Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933): Every other frame of the camera negative was printed onto one strip of specially prepared gelatin film (or “matrix”) to create a red record, and the remaining frames were printed onto a second strip of blank film to create a green record.

Process 4 - The light passing through the camera lens was split into two beam paths by a prism block. Green light was recorded through a green filter on panchromatic film, while the other half of the light passed through a magenta filter and was recorded on bipack film stock with two strips running base to base. On this stock, the front film was sensitized to blue light only, backed by a red gelatin layer which acted as a light filter to the panchromatic film behind it.

NOTE(You can delete this if you want to reblog it. This is really huge, I’m so sorry omfg): The Technicolor process took years and years of input and persistence of the company’s part. This is nowhere near accurate to everything there is to know, mostly because you can read the exact same thing on Wikipedia. If you’re interested in it you can read this and several other articles on the internet which were of enormous help to me.
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The surviving all-Technicolor silent features.

Throughout the 20’s, the Technicolor process was used mainly in short subjects and brief sequences in features, and during the silent era, only 4 features were made entirely with it. The second one - Wanderer Of The Wasteland- is lost. Can’t wait to get my hands on the Dawn of Technicolor book for further info. (The blog has a donate button wink wink, nudge nudge)

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Intertitles without Context

The intertitles above, from Chester M. Franklin's The Toll of the Sea, are filled with a poetic and sorrowful beauty. Having seen the film—which is even more racist, sexist, and aggravating than can be tolerated for something from the socially ignorant 1920s—I’d argue that these intertitles do a better job of telling the story than the film itself.

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